Last Saturday two members at the Yarra Link Project visited the kind folks at Bee Sustainable for a intro workshop on backyard beekeeping. The Lovely Robert told us everything there is to know about bee keeping as he understands it from the long history of honey merchants within his own family. We did everything from watch baby bees hatch from their egg to building our own beeswax frame for our first bee box! We felt welcomed by the people at Bee Sustainable and were amazed by the vast knowledge of the staff along with the beautiful array of bee keeping and sustainable gardening products. If you go for no reason at all but to sample the amazing collection of honey then you will feel fully satisfied.
Last Saturday the members of the Yarra Link project felt it was time for a field trip and to get out and see what other native gardens in Victoria have to offer, the feature location for this adventure was the Cranbourne Royal Botanical Gardens located about a 55 minute drive from inner city Melbourne.
First stop on our excursion was for a quick warm up at the welcoming Boon Wurrung cafe and to take in the beautiful view of the Red Sands garden. After that we made our way through the entrance into the impressively laid out Diversity Garden that featured small sections of Australian plant-life from nearly every region. Further along you experience the calm pleasure of moving from stone to stone along the Rockpool Waterway, the high stepping stones keep you dry while you see and hear the water rush all around you as it cascades down to the river bend.
We really enjoyed the Kid’s backyard, especially the red slide and how the use of natural materials allowed the play area to meld into the surrounding landscape. For a relatively young garden it was visually stunning even in winter. We can’t wait to see it in Spring and in the years to come. The experience left each of us in awe of such a vast project and inspired to move forward with our own little piece of local Australian plant-life.
Download a map of the garden here Map_of_the_Australian_Garden
Carolyn Cardinet, the first official artist to install work at the Yarra Link project has a new video out about her work with recycled plastics at the Yarra Community Youth Center. It’s exciting to see Melbourne artist’s tackle the subject of waste reduction and recycling. We look foward to seeing Carolyn’s future work!
All of us here at the Yarra Link Project have a real passion for cycling and all the kooky and useful ways that bicycles are able to improve your everyday life. Recently as a way to explore various issues such as transport, energy production, storage, and even toilet access we thought why not see how we can incorporate our lovely two wheeled friends into the solution? After some interesting and often enlightening conversations we thought that we’d share one of our most recent favorites, the DIY Bamboo bicycle trailer. Its growable, transportable, downloadable and compostable! We hope to incorporate this useful bicycle accessory for more than a few functions for the Yarra Link Project. For anyone with additional information on creative ways to use their bicycles or get inspired by what they see here please let us know! We love all of it!
DIY Bamboo bicycle trailer by Carry Freedom
Download the free PDF guide here –> Bamboo Trailer
The Yarra Link Project would like to thank the team at Biosis for their hard work at providing a full ecological and cultural survey of our Heyington location. We are very excited to move foward with the valuable knowledge and want to share a bit of what we’ve learned here.
We were very pleased to discover a number of indigenous plants already making their home on the site and providing the Yarra Link project with a place to begin work. The Diagram below details the indigenous plants found on the Yarra Link Project’s river-side location.
We have also received some valuable information regarding the cultural significance of a number of the plants that call the Yarra Link Project their home, below is what Biosis had to say regarding the use of some of these plants.
“Indigenous people of the Melbourne region used a diverse range of plants as a food source, for tools, adhesives, medicine and for cultural purposes. Following the removal of indigenous peoples from their land early in Australia’s history much of the information regarding indigenous use of plants has been gained from early European accounts and often the use of precise species can be difficult to establish (Gott 2008).
There are a number of plants currently present on the site that would have been commonly used by indigenous people in the area (reference):
River Red Gum trees were an important plant for indigenous people in the Melbourne area. The bark was used to make canoes, shelters, shields and containers. The sap was used to seal burns and was mixed with water to treat diarrhoea. The leaves were used in an aromatic steam bath to treat a range of ailments.
Black Wattle was an important source of gum. A sweet drink was made from the gum and flower nectar when dissolved in water. The gum was also used as a resin.
The leaves of Common Tussock-grass and Kangaroo Grass were used as string for nets, bags baskets and mats. The seeds from Kangaroo Grass were also ground into flour.
Prior to European settlement of the area the site may have contained a range of species that would have been used by local indigenous groups.
Plants with starchy tubers were commonly eaten and formed a significant portion of the diet of indigenous people (Gott 2008). Plants of this type that may have occurred within the study area include:
· Chocolate –lily Arthropodium spp.
· Marsh Club-sedge Bolboschoenus medianus
· Bulbine Lily Bulbine bulbosa
· Cranes-bill Geranium spp.
· Milkmaids Burchardia umbelata
· Common Reed Phragmites australis
· Plains Yam-Daisy Microseris scapigera
· Water Ribbons Triglochin spp.
Other local plant parts were utilised such as the berries of Spreading Flax-lily Dianella revoluta which were picked and eaten and the flowers of Native Violet Viola hederacea were picked and eaten raw.
Local aromatic plants such as mint Mentha spp. and Sneezeweed Centipeda spp. were widely used medicinally by indigenous groups. Materials with a high tannin content such as Eucalyptus sap were used to treat burns and wounds and local Mistletoe species Amyea sppm. were used in aromatic steam baths.
Several species commonly found in this area have known uses as materials for tools, adhesives and weapons. The stems of a number of species such as Poon’ort Carex tereticaulis and Spiny-headed Mat-rush Lomandra longifolia were spit and were woven into bags, baskets or nets. Blackwood Acacia melanoxylon was often used to make shields clubs or spear throwers.”
Yarra Link Project: Flora and Fauna Assessment, Biosis Pty Ltd, Melbourne. Dec 2014.